PITTSBURGH—NEP has begun phase two of its large-scale, fleetwide technology enhancement with major audio infrastructure upgrades for seven of the company’s U.S.-based mobile broadcasting vehicles. The enhancement includes router upgrades to support 16 channels of embedded audio across all recording and playback devices, as well as inbound and outbound paths to remote outside broadcasting locations.
“The transition to embedded audio over HD-SDI video will be a huge asset for both our engineering crews and our broadcast customers, especially those that need to create multiple audio streams in 5.1 to support various international markets,” said George Hoover, chief technology officer for NEP. “In addition to reducing engineering and operating costs as well as weight, rack space, and power consumption—always important factors on mobile units—embedded audio will better equip us to support the channel payloads required for multichannel audio in large-scale, live mobile productions.”
Although the audio will eventually be upgraded on NEP’s entire fleet of U.S. mobile broadcasting units, the company is planning to complete the upgrade on seven HD vehicles over this summer. They include Pesa router upgrades for full embedded audio with LED legend-able panels in SS18, SS16, SS20, ND5, and ND6. The audio upgrade is a full-featured retrofit that will enable channel swapping, shuffle, delay, and phase adjustments for each path while maintaining full sample accuracy. This audio enhancement project will also include audio console upgrades to NCPX and NCPVII, including the addition of BlueFin technology.
Since announcing the massive fleetwide enhancements in January, NEP has made progress on the first phase, upgrading 30 HD vehicles to Grass Valley K-Frame modular video processing engines with Kayenne Video Production Center switcher platforms. In addition to the switcher and embedded audio retrofits, NEP will launch other phases of the enhancement program in the coming months. These include improving the vehicles’ slow-motion replay capabilities using EVS XT3 servers, replacing copper cable with fiber-optic cable to interconnect multiple vehicles on larger productions, and new monitor walls in several mobile units. NEP has also begun a refurbishing and upgrade program for its B units and a project to install The Wall, the company’s new Apple iPad app for fast and easy configuration of complex monitor walls. The fleet upgrade will take place in cycles over the next three years in order not to disrupt scheduled productions.
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